I simply cannot wrap my head around this one.

Wednesday, two women made publicly accused former President HW Bush of sexual assault, not harassment, assault.

The first, which prompted the second, jumped aboard the #MeToo train (we discussed that here) saying four years ago, the wheelchair bound former President patted her rear during a photo op.

Actress Heather Lind accused Bush of sexual assault via Instagram post (which was later deleted), writing:

I was disturbed today by a photo I saw of President Barack Obama shaking hands with George H. W. Bush in a gathering of ex-presidents organizing aid to states and territories damaged by recent hurricanes. I found it disturbing because I recognize the respect ex-presidents are given for having served. And I feel pride and reverence toward many of the men in the photo. But when I got the chance to meet George H. W. Bush four years ago to promote a historical television show I was working on, he sexually assaulted me while I was posing for a similar photo. He didn’t shake my hand. He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side. He told me a dirty joke. And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again. Barbara rolled her eyes as if to say “not again”. His security guard told me I shouldn’t have stood next to him for the photo. We were instructed to call him Mr. President. It seems to me a President’s power is in his or her capacity to enact positive change, actually help people, and serve as a symbol of our democracy. He relinquished that power when he used it against me and, judging from the comments of those around him, countless other women before me. What comforts me is that I too can use my power, which isn’t so different from a President really. I can enact positive change. I can actually help people. I can be a symbol of my democracy. I can refuse to call him President, and call out other abuses of power when I see them. I can vote for a President, in part, by the nature of his or her character, knowing that his or her political decisions must necessarily stem from that character. My fellow cast-mates and producers helped me that day and continue to support me. I am grateful for the bravery of other women who have spoken up and written about their experiences. And I thank President Barack Obama for the gesture of respect he made toward George H. W. Bush for the sake of our country, but I do not respect him.

Like the other #metoo posts, they only tell one side of the story and assume the motives of the alleged abuser without giving them an opportunity to plead their case.

Soon after, Bush’s spokesperson released the following statement:

That this kind of explanation is needed makes me hate everything.

The flood of sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations of Harvey Weinstein have blown the lid off quiet, shame-induced victimhood. No more are victims of sexual abuse afraid to speak up for fear of retribution; a fantastic development.

Unfortunately, as #metoo and Lind’s accusation perfectly illustrate, someone patting a woman’s rear without consent is being lumped into the same category and with the same abusers as Halperin and Weinstein.

Pretending what President Bush did was sexual assault doesn’t raise awareness of sexual predation, instead it demeans actual instances of sexual assault and the trauma those victims suffer for the rest of their lives. It takes a real, horrific crime, and makes the public laugh at the stupidity of the accusation.

There’s an entire generation that’s been raised without any respect for words and their meaning in conjunction with an ingrained desire to be a victim as a means of either standing out or fitting in and it’s ruining some of the best parts of our society.

If this is funny (and I chucked at this one),

Then I’m not sure how Hollywood squares some sexual jokes as funny while others as off-putting.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye


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